Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

8 March, 2016

Creating your own fun in depreciated content
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:23 PM

One problem with the typical PvE type content in WoW-style PvE games is that old content gets depreciated eventaully. That old dungeon you ran dozens of times before the expansion becomes mostly meaningless after the expansion; item stats jump so high that a player can easily obtain gear better than the high end raiding gear of yore.

Let’s take a look at depreciated content and how I’ve found some fun in the depreciated content of FFXIV.

Why content gets depreciated

As a game progresses, new content is added with rewards that are intended to be gathered over time. Dungeons are run several times hoping for the right piece of equipment to drop for a character. But when new content is layered on top of old content, giving people new gear to strive for, the old content starts to lose its appeal. This is true for new dungeons added with higher gear levels, and especially true after expansions.

The first expansion to WoW was notable because people were replacing their hard-won epic raid gear with green item rewards from quests the first day in the new area. This was less true in subsequent expansions, but eventually you would throw out that old gear for shiny new gear.

FFXIV makes this all the more clear with their explicit item level (iLvl) display on items. With the expansion “Heavensward”, the basic crafted gear is item level 115, whereas the previous high-end raid-reward gear was about item level 120-130 just before the expansion. Most people would have been upgrading their items soon after the expansion, even if they were raiding.

Revitalizing depreciated content

FFXIV has done a good job of revitalizing old content, though. In particular, they’ve added crafting ingredients that will allow people to get cosmetic gear made from those runs. Before the expansion, the best looking gear came from the high end raiding content, particularly the Binding Coil of Bahamut (BCoB). Being able to use those looks in a cosmetic set would be appealing to some players.

FFXIV has also adjusted the drop rates for some previously rare drops. For example, the extreme primals dropped special mounts. These mounts looked looked like the element of the primal (wind, stone, fire, etc.) and also played the fight music. Originally these were very low drop rates, but they’ve been increased over time. If you didn’t want to grind for weeks on end to get a special mount before, you can do a few runs now and get the drop much later once the prestige of getting the drop has diminished.

But, some players can also revitalize the content for themselves. When I played LotRO years ago, the fellowship I was in did “throwback Thursdays” (before it was a hashtag) where they’d go tackle depreciated raids in that game. In FFXIV, the BCoB in particular have a bit of important story lore in them, so someone interested in the game’s story would be interested in playing the content even without getting shiny rewards. FFXIV helps facilitate this by letting people run the depreciated content with unsynced partial groups; in other words, you keep your full level and item level while tackling content intended for people at a lower level with much lower stats.

Finding my own fun in depreciated content

Lately in FFXIV I’ve been doing unsynced runs on older content with a small group. It’s usually 3-6 of us doing the depreciated content unsynced, depending on who is online at the time. We started with the three primary extreme primals: Garuda EX, Titan EX, and Ifrit EX. These were pretty fun, although we discovered that the nature of some fights changed a lot. For example, Titan EX was a lot easier by virtue of having less people around, which gave more maneuvering room in the miniscule arena near the end of the fight. Some mechanics which were dreaded in the past, such as Ifrit EX’s Searing Wind, didn’t live up to the stories whispered in dark taverns. We also found that some of the guides were wrong. For example, one guide said that certain abilities were used at certain health percents, but with our enhanced DPS we were able to knock them down faster and found that the abilities weren’t tied to health percents. It’s more likely these abilities were timed instead.

Then we did the Binding Coil of Bahamut. The other night 3 of us, a WAR, a WHM, and a SMN (me!) did turn 6 of BCoB. (Or turn 1 of the 2nd coil if you want to follow the official numbering system.) After learning how the mechanics worked for having the slugs eat the honey (MMOs are weird), we finally downed it after about 5 attempts without ever having attempted it before.

Of course, because of the Wow-typical gear inflation that creates depreciated content, the three of us are probably doing more DPS than a full raid from before the expansion, particularly when this content was released. But, there’s still some good execution required. When we tackled Twintania in turn 5, the mechanics were still instant death if you didn’t execute well, even if we had many times the hit points of pre-expansion raiders. On the other hand, having only three bodies means that you have to get creative in how some mechanics are played, particularly when having a second tank pull something away would make it easier.

I find the execution of the fights to be a lot of fun, even if the actual fights aren’t as challenging. Understanding the mechanics and executing well is still important, even if a SMN can tank some of the mobs instead of a second tank. :)

Not the original experience

I’m not even going to pretend that I could have done this content so easily before the expansion. Obviously there’s a power level disparity here, and even though the mechanics can still bite you on the rump if you try to power through them increased stats give a lot more buffer for error. The people who did the original content obviously had to put in a lot more work to defeat things. And, the pressure was obviously higher as you had a lot more people who were depending on your performance to progress in raids.

But, I do find the content reasonably challenging and fun. Learning the mechanics and not having to deal with split-second reaction times is fine with me. Plus, I picked up a few of the cool EX Primal mounts as well. :)

What do you think? Do you do depreciated content? Or is it just a waste of space for you?







3 Comments »

  1. Using gear for cosmetics is one option. The other is to scale content up dynamically based on party level, and also the rewards. That might mean your armour set and mine have different stats, despite being “the same” – but it would be incentive to run an instance again later.

    Comment by unwesen — 8 March, 2016 @ 11:13 PM

  2. Absolutely. Some folks in my FC cleared the first Coil a few weeks ago in an unsynced group. It was the first time for most of us trying that content.

    Many of us also participate in the Crystal Tower Sunday events every week, even though those raids aren’t needed for anything in particular. We just enjoy doing them and helping new players see this content.

    We’ve been talking about doing Primal EX runs, too. Sounds like we should be able to do it based on your experiences! :)

    Comment by Aywren — 9 March, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

  3. unwesen wrote:
    That might mean your armour set and mine have different stats, despite being “the same” – but it would be incentive to run an instance again later.

    Well, usually there’s a drive to get people to want to run content from the expansion to encourage them to buy the expansion. FFXIV does have the story going for it, but I suspect many people wouldn’t care if they could just run ever-scaling content to keep getting their cutting-edge shinies.

    Aywren wrote:
    We’ve been talking about doing Primal EX runs, too. Sounds like we should be able to do it based on your experiences! :)

    Yeah, if you’ve downed Twintania, you can do the EX Primals. If you’re doing it on Midgardsormr, feel free to look me up. I’d be happy to explain mechanics, etc.

    Comment by Psychochild — 9 March, 2016 @ 10:20 PM

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